2011 Southeast Entrepreneurship Conference Recap

The 2011 Southeast Entrepreneurship Conference was held at the University of Tampa, in Tampa, Florida April 1-3. This was the second Southeast Entrepreneurship Conference (SEEC) held at the University of Tampa and the conference saw their number of student attendees double from 50 to over 100 students. This regional event is part of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization, which holds a national conference along with several regional conferences throughout the year. The 2011 National CEO conference will be held October 27-29 in Fort Worth, Texas.

The 2011 SEEC held a series of events and keynote speakers. Among those events was the 2011 SEEC Student Pitch Competition. The competition consisted of a total of 24 competitors and was won by Bradley University student Cassie Meyer. Meyer is CEO of her business Knotty Outdoors and impressed the judges and the audience enough to win $1,000 in cash. Meyer also previously placed 3rd out of over 60 competitors in the 2010 National Elevator Pitch Competition, hosted by CEO at the 2010 National CEO Conference. Michael Verdi from the University of Tampa, took the $500 2nd place prize with his smart phone application idea that involves tracking the shelf life of fruit sold in a grocery store. Third place went to Dustin Jeoscke from the University of South Dakota. Jeoscke secured third with a uniquely packaged energy drink called “BOOM”.

Meyer had great things to say about the regional and National CEO conferences; “These conferences dig inside of our entrepreneurial spirit in a matter of two days and inspire us to take our ideas and make them a reality. Seeing so many young entrepreneurs in one place with such enthusiasm and success stories makes you want to be just like them.”
“It’s important to note that none of this would have been possible without Chris Miller putting it on and Bradley Univeristy allowing me the opportunity to attend”, said Meyer. Chris Miller is a former Nebraska-Omaha CEO member , CEO conference speaker, and entrepreneur. Miller graduated from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and co-founded the SEEC in Tampa while being a member of their MBA program, and is now planning on starting another regional CEO conference in Nebraska.

The conference hosted several inspiring entrepreneurs, who were on hand to give advice to future and current collegiate entrepreneurs. Daniel Gomez was among the most intriguing speakers at the event. Gomez is from Mexico, and has employed 25 people at the age of 20 years old. Gomez is the owner and co-founder of Solben, a green energy company. Solben has grossed over $3 Million to date. Another Keynote speaker who will be remembered by students was 24 year old Ray Land. Land is only 24 years of age and employs 180 people as the founder and owner of Fabulous Coach Lines, a luxury motorcoach charter service.

The three day conference also featured a CrowdPitch competition. Crowdpitch is a 90 minute event where companies are selected to present their ideas to an audience of their peers and a panel of experts. Presenters have just 4 minutes to wow the audience before a brief Q&A from the crowd. Panel feedback follows. At the conclusion of the pitches, the audience and panel “invest” FUN money with the company that impressed them most. The winner receives a prize package from conference sponsors. This event was open to the public and received 29 applications, which was narrowed down to just 5 competitors.

The conference was a great success, and will continue next year at the University of Tampa. For more information on the conference, visit http://seectampa.org/. For more information on the CEO national conference visit, C-E-O.org. The Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) is the premier entrepreneurship network with chapters on university campuses across North America. Our mission is to inform, support and inspire college students to be entrepreneurial and seek opportunity through enterprise creation.